Business Blogging: A look at how brands can use Vine in their content strategy
This article by one of Quad’s Content specialists Chris Cooley is a discussion around the new Vine app. If this is something that interests you be sure to sign up to the next Content Creation Collective event taking place on the 17th April – Vlogs, Virals and Vine: Video insights for content creators. If you’ve seen any Vines you like, feel free to add a link in the comments
Billed as the ‘Instagram of Twitter’, Vine is a unique social video app that lets you create and share six–second looping video clips. What’s making everyone sit up and take notice is that Vine is fundamentally different from any other video sharing platform to date. In many ways it has more in common with the old fashioned animated GIF than YouTube.
Like Instagram and Twitter, Vine has severe limitations: you can’t edit your footage, you can’t add external sound, you can’t add filters or effects and you’re limited to a six second length. It’s a case of tap to shoot and scroll to play. And as with Instagram and Twitter, these constraints, ironically, are Vine’s biggest strength as they allow material to be shared as a constant information-dense stream.
The impact of Vine has been instant. Within a week of its February launch, a wide range of uses emerged, many of them unexpected. Animators have been quick to spot its potential for creating micro stop motion animation, artists have begun experimenting with it as a new form of expression and journalists have seized upon it as a documenting tool. Ordinary people everywhere have claimed it as a fresh, simple way of sharing precious moments and glimpses into their lives.
Vine for brands
The question hovering in the air is what brands can do with Vine that they can’t already do with longer forms of video. Judging by the number of brands rushing to try out the new platform, its commercial applications should become evident very soon. A cursory glance shows that brands are already using Vine for product demos, teasers, behind-the-scenes views and competitions. Vine video works well embedded in blogs, as a complementary content form.
Brands wanting to use Vine will want to turn to digital content specialists with innovative ideas for blending Vine into wider digital content marketing strategies, rather than traditional media agencies. As with all content marketing, just creating the content isn’t enough to hit marketing objectives… it’s the strategy behind it that will make a campaign successful.
Digital agencies offer an understanding of the psychology of sharing and a knowledge of how to use content to drive traffic, shares and links, and it is these factors that will achieve results.
Four reasons brands should be using Vine
- Vine is a great platform for pushing new products as the Vine community are proven early adopters. These users are most likely to interact with the brand and provide candid feedback.
- Vine is a great way to garner branded user-generated content. Brands that act as inspiration fodder will see great results.
- Vine complements a blog and integrates well with existing Twitter strategies. By building a successful and innovative blog, brands will increase Google visibility and growth.
- A six–second advert is less intrusive than a minute long advert. Vines appeal to a growing audience with a shorter attention span.
Setting up a Vine account
When signing up, ensure the username you create is consistent across all other platforms currently used by your brand.
Shooting your Vine videos
You may need to make several attempts at shooting your Vine videos because the functionality, although simple, can be fiddly for first-timers. Don’t publish your initial experiments on Twitter; wait until your videos are of a good quality. Nobody wants to see poor quality video even if it is only six seconds long!
Consider how the Vine medium is unique
Like GIF files, Vine videos loop, meaning the relationship between the first and last frame is very important.
Exploit the platform’s idiosyncrasies. Vine differs from animated GIFs in that videos can be paused and can include sounds. Using these features in an innovative way will make your Vine videos stand out.
At present, sound can’t be overlaid on the videos; adding or creating consistent and pleasing audio is difficult. However, my feeling is that constraints like this force you to become creative with the ambient sound that Vine automatically records.
Creating a strong Vine strategy
In order to create great content, planning is of the utmost importance. Ask yourself:
- Who is your video aimed at?
- What is the creative concept?
- Why will it get shared?
This is where those with creative expertise coupled with an understanding of how audiences behave online will excel.
Integrating Vine into a blog
A Vine can be embedded into a blog simply by taking its unique URL and adding it to this embed code –
<p><iframe width=”350px” height=”350px” src=”INSERT VINE URL/card” frameborder=”0″></iframe></p>;
Paste this code into your CMS – the width and height can be adjusted by adding or subtracting to the numbers.
Make sure you add the “/card” to the end of the Vine URL otherwise you get a nasty scroll bar and it looks rubbish. Here’s an example of a video without the “/card”:
Alternatively, Vines can be pasted into a blog to include a tweet. To do this, click the ‘More’ link on the tweet and copy the ‘Embed Tweet’ code, then paste it into your blog’s HTML.
Just realized how cool animated spinning is. vine.co/v/bpZzzlOuuaw
— meagan cignoli (@MeaganCignoli) March 17, 2013
Blending your Vine videos with written content on your blog adds a rich layer to the post’s story and increases the engagement potential.
Using #hashtags in Vine
Think about the hashtags you will use to identify your Vines as this can have huge implications to the visibility of the video, on both Vine and Twitter. Get some inspiration by looking at these successful Twitter hashtag campaigns.
If users are searching for Vines using a hashtag you use, and the Vine includes a call to action and link to your blog, this will be a great way of generating referral traffic.
Potential uses of Vine
It’s still very early days for Vine, but I think that the following are obvious uses:
- Elevator pitches
- Product showcases
- Customer testimonials
- Audience involvement (# campaigns)
— The Hobbit (@TheHobbitMovie) March 15, 2013
- How-to videos
- Teaser videos – could be linked to full videos on your YouTube channel
Advice from the Vine experts
Here are some of our favourite Vine users sharing their thoughts on how to get the best results:
Jeff Elder (@JeffElder)
“A good Vine is either a doc recording reality or a movie that requires production. For a doc, you need a blog post telling why it’s pertinent. For a movie, you need time, actors. Both are an investment.”
“I have a sketchbook where I plan my out my frames for ease.”
Lucy Charlewood (@C_C_C_UK)
“Have a clever headline that adds to the piece. A vine boils down to the wittiness of a tweet combined with visual motion. For example, I think my ‘Guggenheim in six seconds’ Vine is funny – to think you can see the whole Guggenheim so easily.”
“Not all mistakes should be fixed. Keep some to show the real progress and to show everything was animated manually, instead of digitally. Analog rules.”
Nick Confalone (@nickconfalone)
“I think good Vine stories have the most in common with four-panel comic strips.”
What else you need to know about Vine
- Although Vines are supposedly six seconds long, they are actually 6.4 seconds.
- Vines can be as short as three seconds. You’ll notice a tick pop up halfway through shooting. This is to tell you the video is now long enough to be published.
- There are already a lot of aggregator websites popping up using hashtags to pull together related Vines in real time. There is also http://www.vinepeek.com/: a reel that continuously plays random vines one after another. These can be useful for inspiration and also to see what not to do.
- There is an arbitrary age limit of 17 that was imposed after one sexually explicit clip was featured in the Vine app as an editor’s pick.
Vine, rich media and your blog
Remember to use rich media on a blog; this does not need to be limited to Vine, but used properly this new app is a superb new addition to your content arsenal.
It remains to be seen whether this platform will have the culture changing impact that Twitter has had, but one thing’s for sure, right now it’s on a lot of people’s radars which means there is great opportunity for forward thinking brands to push the boundaries and get the big visibility wins.
If you are interested in finding out more about what Vine can bring to your company’s blog, come along to the Content Creation Collective’s event ‘Vlogs, Virals and Vine: Video insights for content creators’.